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Hominids: The Neanderthal Parallax, Book 1 | [Robert J. Sawyer]

Hominids: The Neanderthal Parallax, Book 1

Neanderthals have developed a radically different civilization on a parallel Earth. A Neanderthal physicist, Ponter Boddit, accidentally passes from his universe into a Canadian underground research facility. Fortunately, a team of human scientists, including expert paleo-anthropologist Mary Vaughan, promptly identifies and warmly receives Ponter. Solving the language problem and much else is a mini-computer, called a Companion, implanted in the brain of every Neanderthal. But it can't help his fellow scientist back in his world, Adikor Huld, when the authorities charge Adikor with his murder.
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Publisher's Summary

Neanderthals have developed a radically different civilization on a parallel Earth. A Neanderthal physicist, Ponter Boddit, accidentally passes from his universe into a Canadian underground research facility. Fortunately, a team of human scientists, including expert paleo-anthropologist Mary Vaughan, promptly identifies and warmly receives Ponter. Solving the language problem and much else is a mini-computer, called a Companion, implanted in the brain of every Neanderthal. A computerized guardian spirit, however, doesn't eliminate cross-cultural confusion; permanent male-female sexuality, rape, and overpopulation are all alien to Ponter. Nor can it help his housemate and fellow scientist back in his world, Adikor Huld, when the authorities charge Adikor with his murder.

BONUS AUDIO: Author Robert J. Sawyer explains why Ponter Boddit is his favorite among all the characters he's created.

Hunt and gather: listen to more in the Neanderthal Parallax trilogy.

©2002 by Robert J. Sawyer; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Hugo Award Winner, Best Novel, 2003

"Sawyer is a writer of boundless confidence and bold scientific extrapolation." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (1218 )
5 star
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4.0 (571 )
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4.2 (566 )
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  •  
    Shawna Medford, OR United States 03-28-10
    Shawna Medford, OR United States 03-28-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    68
    5
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    Overall
    "Perfect for Sci Fi Fans"

    This entire series is a must for sci fi fans. Smart, fast paced, integrated - I wish there were more.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joel Washington, DC, United States 08-04-09
    Joel Washington, DC, United States 08-04-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    60
    ratings
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    151
    10
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    Overall
    "Juvenile"

    I have to admit that I've read a lot of "beach books" with simplistic characters and wooden dialog, but this one is special: it adds ham-fisted politically correct subthemes. Not worth listening to.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andre New York, NY, United States 02-19-09
    Andre New York, NY, United States 02-19-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    92
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    209
    29
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    5
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    Overall
    "Compelling concepts. So-so writing."

    The maxim of "show, don't tell" is clearly one that this author has never heard. The book is heavier on science than good fiction. However, even the science couldn't get me to engage in the sequel. If this is a Hugo Award-winner...well, then, SF ain't what it used to be.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan Reno,, NV, USA 07-26-08
    Alan Reno,, NV, USA 07-26-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    12
    3
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    0
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    Overall
    "Fast read"

    This book was a "fast" read. I enjoyed it, and wanted to go on to the next book. The characters are fully developed, and the premise is interesting. There is also social commentary.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fred Chapel Hill, NC, USA 02-14-09
    Fred Chapel Hill, NC, USA 02-14-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
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    27
    1
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    "Graphic Rape Scene"

    Hi, I don't want to sound too prude, but this book has an early graphic rape scene. In a regular book, it isn't a problem to fast forward through this, but in an audio format, it is just a little bit creepy.

    I really felt awkward listening to this and just wanted to pass it on to others. I realize this may come off as old-fashioned, but having to listen to it is very different than reading through it (where you can skip lines and/or pages).

    15 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charlie Lethbridge, AB, Canada 06-20-08
    Charlie Lethbridge, AB, Canada 06-20-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    113
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    34
    16
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    Overall
    "Slow But Interesting"

    Sawyer has some interesting ideas that make this book worth reading, but the story's pace dragged considerably in my opinion. At times the story tends to slip into thinly veiled political commentary that does little to advance the plot, or develop the characters. What it seems Sawyer is tryng to convey is a dystopic view of our world seen through the eyes of a neanerthal from a parallel universe. If you don't agree with some of the interpretations, it can be quite jarring (which perhaps was the point). I think this story would appeal to fans of "hard" science fiction - where the focus is on the speculation within.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Tippecanoe, IN, USA 03-09-09
    Andrew Tippecanoe, IN, USA 03-09-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
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    34
    7
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    Overall
    "A fine book and naration, but some rough edges"

    Let's look at the review in 2 sections, the narration and the book. Overall it's a fun read and I'm glad it's available. Will this book stand alone as a classic, no.

    Narration: Davis attempts to do accents, and Louise's accent almost killed the book. She's French Canadian and Davis gave her a Parisian French accent. They are as different as American English and British English, with no love lost between the two cultures. Being Canadian and very familiar with French Canadian's speaking English it made me cringe every time the character appeared in the story. Oh no, he might use that awful accent again! Thankfully, she is a minor character. The rest of the narration is enjoyable, though the accents come and go.

    Book: His explanation of earth almost makes me want to give up and crawl back into a cave. The author seems to basically setup Ponter's world as the garden of eden, a wonderful place with no crime, rich in technology and living in perfect harmony with nature. He then contrasts this with our world and the mess we've made of it. While he's right on somethings, it seemed too lopsided. Almost to the point of, what's the point? I'm guessing later books in the series this might change.

    I would not describe the rape scene as graphic. Not if you've seen any movies in the last 25 years anyways. It's well described, and enough for the reader to know why the character is the way she is. Was it required for this book, no. For the series? I'm guessing yes.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis 02-08-10
    Dennis 02-08-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    22
    2
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    Overall
    "interesting perspective."

    Loved the book. A nice story with interesting characters.
    The narrator makes the story even better.
    Looking forward to read the next book.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pete Georgetown, DE, United States 01-31-09
    Pete Georgetown, DE, United States 01-31-09 Member Since 2009

    Boom...

    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    229
    5
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    Overall
    "Don't give me your politics"

    I liked this book because of it's sci-fi and science. But at the beginning of this book Mr. Sawyer says that Ponter is his favorite character he's ever created. I think if he's proud of creating an atheist, communist, cave man, I'd be afraid to read his other characters. I don't like to read fiction that throws politics down my throat. I don't care what your politics are or even if I agree with them but it should be neutral in sci-fi. Politics are ruining sci-fi just look at the recent flop "Day the Earth Stood Still" to prove that. Please give me your science, your mystery, your, drama, and even give me your romance. But please leave your politics at the door. I would have preferred instead of describing everything wrong with our world if the book would describe all that bad thing's in Ponter's world as well. But I will continue reading this series because I enjoy the science and other subject matter.

    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Bakersfield, CA, USA 05-01-08
    Steven Bakersfield, CA, USA 05-01-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    44
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    27
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    "Hominids Love it"

    I couldent put this book down this is the first book buy this auther that i have listend to but it wont be my last IT,S A GREAT BOOK

    8 of 23 people found this review helpful
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